During a mainly sunny mid-September, I had been struggling with computer issues all morning which gave me a headache and put me in a bad mood. We planned on a mid-week walk but unfortunately picked a day when the sun remained hidden in the South Pennines. Reluctantly, I submitted to Phil’s badgering to at least leave the house but disinclined to go far, suggested going to Horsehold Wood. A decidedly chilly wind blew as we climbed the steep road. I cursed grumpily at the elusive sun.
Through the small gate onto the path edging the valley, we stood to gaze across the valley. A plethora of greens and yellows signalling autumn was on the way. At our feet, fading heather and rotting blackberries added contrasting splashes of red to the natural palette.
Descending into woodland, pale beige mushrooms and bright green ferns poked up from dark earth covered with rotten leaves. Stunted trees struggled for dear life on the north-facing slope. Rotting trunks resembled tree spirits. Phil suddenly stopped in an awkward spot, dealing with a camera malfunction. I became impatient. I told him the walk was not doing its job of improving my mood and I just wanted to get on with it. He giggled, and I had to admit it did sound rather ridiculous when I was meant to be having fun!
Deeper into the wood, we marvelled anew at the red earth with optimistically green grass sprouting in clumps, and at how on earth some of the rocks had landed in such strange configurations. We had noticed earlier how many beech nuts and acorns there were this year. This had prompted a new obsession with collecting items and turning them into art. On the road, we had gathered nut casings and helicopter-like seeds. Here, we added shinier specimens untouched since they hit the ground.
A new bridge had been constructed over the stream making crossing easier although I still found the stepping-stones tricky. On the other side we perched on a rock to watch the fast tumbling water. I decided I did now feel a bit better for being immersed in nature; we had not yet seen a single other person. It was worth the initial effort, however difficult.
Large stones serving as steps led up. We turned right and followed the path round where it became a tiny grassy line between spindly trees. At the ruined house we spotted lettering on a stone among the wreckage but were unable to decipher it. We followed the path down to the canal and walked on the towpath. I spotted a deer across the way. Typical, I thought, having seen none when we were in the wood!
At Stubbing’s, we left the canal to walk alongside the river where we considered the final demise of the once enormous Calder Mill (we had noticed from Horsehold Road that the roof slates had disappeared). Back home I collapsed on the sofa while Phil made coffee. Although my headache had abated and my mood lifted somewhat, I was very tired. My ankle ached too as I had forgotten to wear a bandage.
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjkK19zVvfQti88A2h6gtEDU9B8_SQ?e=q824MX